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The Soul, Immortal soul, Hell and Eternal conscious punishment (part 2 of 2)
by lee thriepland
7/24/2018 / Bible Studies
The Soul, Immortal soul, Hell and Eternal conscious punishment (part 2 of 2)
WHAT is Hell?
The most common understanding or better stated, the traditional view of Hell is that it is a place that the unsaved soul will go to after judgement to face punishment of torture for eternity in fire and brimstone (often being depicted as the “home” of the devil who is also often the one who will be inflicting this punishment. This traditional view is based primarily on the belief that the soul is immortal and therefore requires a place to inhabit for eternity if not with God and also on the interpretation of certain Bible verses usually influenced by the belief that the soul is immortal.
The traditional images of Hell being a place of torment in fire does not in fact come primarily from the words of the Bible rather these images actually come from Dante's inferno which forms part of a 14th century Poem called Divine comedy. This Poem itself is actually based not on the biblical texts but on the Apocalypse of Peter, a 2nd century non biblical writing.
There are certain biblical verses that are used in order to support this understanding, however what we will see is that the preconceived idea that Hell being a place of torment and fire is read INTO and not out of these verses.
In part one I showed that the idea that the soul is immortal is incorrect, it is not a biblical teaching and was integrated into christianity mainly through Greek converts . The need of Hell being a place for the unsaved soul to inhabit for eternity is therefore negated. If the soul is not immortal then in order for a soul to be eternally consciously punished it would require God to give that soul immortality (something that the Bible says is only given to the saved) in order to eternally consciously punish it. Or the second option would be that God would have to eternally resurrect the unsaved soul after each and every time it dies in order to keep consciously punishing it for eternity. Neither of these ideas is supported by scripture and the latter being an abhorrent concept although admittedly this is merely my own personal opinion.
For God to continually consciously punish a soul for eternity without the possibility of “parole” or “rehabilitation” simply makes this an infinite punishment for a finite crime and seems rather brutal. While this in itself does not in fact mean that God cannot do such a thing it does at least seem a barbaric punishment and a tad unjust from a God of love.
There are some that argue that a sin against an eternal God REQUIRES an eternal punishment, this however really is nothing more than conjecture. There is nothing in the Bible to support this theory.
Nevertheless even if we said that a sin against an eternal God does in fact require an eternal punishment, it is a non sequitur argument that that eternal punishment MUST be conscious and also one of endless torment. If the punishment is as I believe the Bible teaches, the denial of eternal life and the non existence for eternity of a person or soul then that punishment is no less eternal than an eternal punishment where the person or soul is conscious, both would indeed have no end. We have to distinguish between punishMENT and conscious punishING. The result of the punishment in the case of Annihilation is eternal even if the conscious punishing is not. We are basically talking about the difference between corporal and capital punishment. In a similar way as to a human criminal facing life in prison without the possibility of release or that same person being executed.The only real difference being that the human life in prison is limited to the time that person is physically alive and also the “torture” that is involved. I don't think many people would argue that it would be morally acceptable to literally torture a criminal, even a murderer day and night, day after day year after year without rest. Yet this is what many believe that God will do for eternity to the unsaved. A soul that has endured a million years of this torture is no closer to its end than that of the first day. I hope this sounds as ridiculous to you as it really is. If it doesn't then maybe you need to question your own morality. God may certainly have the right to do as he wishes being the creator of all things however that doesn't mean that such a punishment would in fact be right. Especially as we are told to love our enemies and forgive.
Matthew 5-44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Matthew 6-14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
Maybe a little hypocritical of a God that will torture his enemies for eternity.
And yes again this is biased based on my own personal opinion.
I also don't think it can be argued that if a person is capitally punished that they haven't actually received punishment which John McKinley argued in a debate with Edward Fudge. He claimed that punishment required consciousness.
Dr James White who believes in the continued existence of the soul after death, argued in a debate with Roger and Faith Forster on the Unbelievable radio program ……There is no evidence that a person would stop sinning even after death.
Needless to say there is no evidence that a person would continue to sin after death either, even if the soul was immortal and didn't die. The argument is also simply an appeal to opinion rather than evidence.
The Bible very clearly states the penalty for sin is death, not torture
Romans 6-23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Jesus although he was physically consciously tortured before his death DIED. It wasn't the torture, the pain or suffering on the cross that paid our price for sin. It was his death.
Jesus stated that he was the bread that those who ate of it would not DIE.
John 6-49 Our fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
Humans still physically die so it obviously cannot be a reference to a physical death.
LIFE or DEATH.
This contrast is offered consistently throughout the Bible. The most famous being John 3-16
John 3-16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
There are those that will argue that when the Bible says life or death it is referring to the quality of life, those that are “alive” or at least “conscious” in Hell have no life as they are not with God. The death referred to doesn't mean literal death but life without God.
In a passage referring to the flood and those that died in the flood the word perish is used just as John 3-16
2 peter 3-6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: Here the same word is used to describe the destruction of the world during the flood .
We know that this meant that all the world was destroyed, they were not consciously punished, but the punishment was a lasting punishment, they perished, they died.
We know that these people literally died. They were not alive but without God. They perished literally.
The symbology of the Bible very clearly being that the wicked will be destroyed, made as ashes, perish and be cut off.
The following verses being just a sample depicting this end for the unsaved.
Malachi 4-3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts. Ashes are what would be left after the burning of the wicked.
Psalm 58-8 As a snail which melteth, let every one of thempass away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun.
Psalm 112-10 The wicked shall see it, and be grieved; he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away: the desire of the wicked shall perish.
Psalm 37-38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.
PSalm 94-23 And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the LORD our God shall cut them off.
Psalm 92-7 When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever:
Proverbs 10-29 The way of the LORD is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.
Hosea 7-13 Woe unto them! for they have fled from me: destruction unto them! because they have transgressed against me: though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against me.
1 timothy 6-9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
Romans 9 -22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
There is an argument that it is worse to be eternally consciously tormented than to be annihilated and be no more, but this argument fails on a number of factors. 1) it is purely a subjective opinion that it is in fact worse to be consciously tortured for eternity rather than to cease to exist for that eternity even if once that cessation of existence has started the person would no longer be aware of the punishment. It can just as easily be argued that to be denied existence through capital punishment is the worser of the 2 punishments based on a person's own personal subjective opinion. 2) Even if Eternal conscious punishment was a worse punishment it does not mean that that automatically makes it the final punishment.
So back to Hell. Hell most certainly exists within the biblical texts there is absolutely no denying that, the Bible mentions Hell. This writing will in no way try to deny this. To deny the very existence of Hell would be to deny the Bible itself and the very words of Jesus who himself referred to Hell. So the question isn't IF Hell exists, the correct question is, as is the title of this writing, WHAT is Hell?
What I will show in this writing is that Hell is simply the state of death. Not death itself, the process of dying that is something separate, but the state of being dead. When a person has died and is dead...they are in Hell.
It will also explain what the lake of fire is and no it is NOT like the majority believe another reference to Hell or referring to the fire in Hell but rather…..oh you will have to read on in order to find out exactly what that is. (it will probably have more of a twist for most than the 6th sense)
The word Hell.
The word Hell appears 54 times , 31 in the OT and 23 in the NT in the KJV Bible. (This is reduced to a total of just 17 times in the ESV and reduced further to just 15 times in the NIV)
Hell in the KJV Bible is actually translated from 4 different words. 1 Hebrew ×Ö×××Ö× Sheol and 3 Greek γÎεννα Geenna , áδης hadés and αρταρÏω tartaroó which is only used once.
These different words have very important meanings and distinctions between them when they are used which we will see later.
In the OT the word translated as Hell is Sheol. It means the grave, the place a person went after they died. Although sheol is translated as Hell 31 times, the word sheol actually appears 66 times also being translated as the grave and the pit.
EVERYONE in the OT saved or unsaved went to sheol/ Hell. There was no separation between righteous and unrighteous.
Job 3:11-19 Why did I not die at birth, come forth from the womb and expire? Why were there knees to receive me, or breasts for me to suck? Now I would be lying down and quiet; I would be asleep; then I would be at rest with kings and counselors of the earth who rebuild ruins for themselves, or with princes who have gold, who fill their houses with silver. Or why was I not buried like a stillborn child, like an infant that never sees the light? There the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary are at rest. There the prisoners are at ease together; they do not hear the voice of the taskmaster. The small and the great are there, and the slaves are free from their masters.
Ecclesiastes 3-20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
The body of the dead, just as was stated by God simply returns to dust
Genesis 3-19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Hell in the New Testament
The main biblical support used for the belief that Hell is a place of eternal torment actually comes from the NT.
What about Hell in the NT. There is no difference here in the NT from the OT. Hell is still simply the state of being dead.
So let's look at the verses used to support this belief of Hell being a place of eternal conscious punishment. What we will find is actually there are not very many.
We shall start with some references to Hell that Jesus himself made.
Matthew 16-18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
So was Jesus saying that Hell the place for the unsaved soul, the place of eternal conscious punishment, would not prevail.
The rock if you have read my writing is Peter the rock? , is actually the fact that Jesus is the Messiah.
Matthew 16- 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God
The Greek word translated as Hell in verse 18 is hadés which is the Greek equivalent of Sheol. The gates of hell, Sheol, the state of being dead will not prevail against the fact that Jesus is the Christ. Those that believe this have passed from death to life.
John 5-24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Death has no more power over those in Jesus
Romans 6-9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
Even the state of being dead will not prevail against the belief that Jesus is the Messiah because Jesus will raise those that believe on the last day
John 6-40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
In another passage where Jesus refers to Hell, Jesus states that it would be better to remove a part of your body than to have your whole body cast into Hell.
Matthew 5-29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
Again this is taken to mean that Jesus was referring to the place of eternal torment. In context however we see that in these verses Jesus is actually referring to adultery and the punishment for committing adultery
Matthew 5- 27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
The punishment for adultery was death.
Leviticus 20-10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
The Greek word used in these 2 references is γÎεννα Gehenna and is derived from the Hebrew gei hinnom or valley of Hinnom. It was a valley just outside of Jerusalem to the south where pagan child sacrifice by the pagan nations of Canaan once took place.
Jeremiah 7-31 And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.
2 chronicles 28-3 Moreover he burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and burnt his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.
During the reign of Josiah these child sacrifices came to an end.
2 kings 23-10 And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech.
After the sacrifices were stopped the valley became the local rubbish tip. But it was far worse than just a place for rubbish. It was believed to be cursed spiritually because of the evil that went on there. The carcasses of dead animals and the bodies of dead criminals were dumped there. The whole place was continuously on fire to burn up the garbage and the rotting flesh. To the Jews there was nowhere worse on earth and to end up there would have been considered abhorrent.
When Jesus used the word Gehenna he wasn't referring to some future place of residence of the soul for eternity of the person that would commit adultery. There is no way that the Jews would have understood Gehenna as a place of eternal torment for the unsaved soul. They would have understood it just as Jesus meant it, as the place where the wicked lawbreakers worthy of death were “dumped” into. Jesus is stating that the punishment for adultery was death a fact that the Jews would have been fully aware of. Jesus was explaining that adultery wasn’t just the physical act itself but the thought of the act also, and so Hell here is a reference to the state of being dead after being punished by death for committing adultery. It is better that a person remove any temptation or ability to commit adultery than it is to commit the act either physically or emotionally and then be punished by death and cast into the valley of Gehenna with the other criminals and lawbreakers and their remains burned up in the fire.
Jesus in his berating of the pharisees claimed that they made people children of Hell
Matthew 23-15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
He also asked how they themselves would escape the damnation of Hell.
Matthew 23-15 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
The Pharisees were rejecting Jesus as the Messiah and trying to turn people away from accepting him as the Messiah also. Therefore they were rejecting eternal life and turning people away from obtaining that eternal life which depended on the belief in Jesus. So those pharisees and people who rejected Jesus as the Messiah were going to die in their sins
John 8-24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
and so had not passed from death to life.
Jesus again used the word Gehenna. He was emphasising the point that the Pharisees believed themselves to be righteous but in fact they were no better than any common criminal Which Jesus did throughout Matthew 23, and being themselves unrighteous like any criminal they were worthy of being cast into Gehenna.
There are a number of references by Jesus to Hell fire.
Matthew 5- 21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Mark 9- 47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:
This is also echoed in the parallel passage in Matthew
Matthew 18- 9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
This is not like what most propose it to be, the fire in Hell. Jesus is again referring to temptations and unrighteousness. The Greek word again is Gehenna. So literally Jesus is referring to the fire that burned in the valley of Gehenna. Hell fire is the fire that burned in the valley where the unrighteous dead were burned up. The fire for the unrighteous dead in Hell/state of being dead. Again there is no way that the Jews would have understood Gheena as anything other than a reference to the valley of Gehenna and being cast into it would have meant literally the casting of the bodies of the unrighteous into it, there simply is no reference to a place of eternal conscious punishment.
This Hell fire is also referred to by Jesus as everlasting fire
In the preceding verse of Matthew 18 where Jesus references hell fire, Jesus mentions being cast into everlasting fire
Matthew 18- 8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
This everlasting fire is also usually associated as being a reference to the everlasting fire IN Hell. We have already seen that Hell fire is not a reference to the fire in Hell rather the fire that burned in Gehenna.
Here Everlasting fire is the same fire but this time it is a reference to the length of time of the results of this fire that burned continuous and completely burned up whatever was cast into it. Once a person’s body was cast into the fire and burned up it was everlasting. It was irreversible. It was an everlasting fire.. There is NO mention of the judgement at the end of times. There is no reference to the final destination of the unsaved after that judgement at the end times. Jesus is simply referring to the physical death and the destruction of the physical body of those cast into the fire.
However Jesus DOES talk about the fate of the wicked, the unsaved at his return.
Matthew 13- 41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth
Just as the physical bodies of the unrighteous dead were cast into the fire to be burned up and destroyed Jesus states that so will the unrighteous souls be cast into the fire and burned up, they will be destroyed.
The wailing and gnashing of teeth does not mean that they will be in eternal pain.
The Greek for weeping is klauthmos and means weeping or lamenting
gerund or present participle: lamenting
express passionate grief about.
"he was lamenting the death of his infant daughter"
mourn, grieve (for/over), weep for, shed tears for; More
express regret or disappointment about something.
"she lamented the lack of shops in the town"
bemoan, bewail, complain about, deplore, regret, rue; More
They will be grieved by their rejection of Jesus.
The Greek for Gnashing is brygmos βρυγμáς and means a grinding of teeth.
The unsaved will be grieved and angry with their rejection of Jesus and God.
Jesus stated that the way to DESTRUCTION was wide
Matthew 7-13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
We are told that the end for the enemies of the cross of Christ is DESTRUCTION
Philippians 3- 18(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
John the baptist states regarding Jesus that he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
Matthew 3- 11I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
Now this unquenchable fire is taken by the believers of Eternal conscious punishment to mean that the fire will continue to burn the unsaved for eternity and so the unsaved must be conscious or in existence for this to occur. That isn't what unquenchable means. Unquenchable means it cannot be quenched. It cannot be stopped, it cannot be extinguished.
The fire that shall not be quenched is mentioned elsewhere in the Bible also.
Ezekiel 20-45 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 46 Son of man, set thy face toward the south, and drop thy word toward the south, and prophesy against the forest of the south field; 47 And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein. 48 And all flesh shall see that I the LORD have kindled it: it shall not be quenched. 49 Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! they say of me, Doth he not speak parables?
Here the symbology of the unquenchable fire very clearly referring to the fire not being able to be stopped. Unquenchable means exactly that. The fire that shall not be quenched is again a fire that cannot be put out. A fire that will not be quenched. Clearly the symbology of the green tree being burned with this fire doesn't indicate that the tree will burn for eternity but that the fire that burns it will not be stopped from burning it. Nothing can stop the fire from devouring the tree.
The fire that is not quenched is also used in the context of Mark 9-45 which we have already looked at where hell fire is mentioned.
Mark 9 - 43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: 48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
The fire will not be quenched. This again simply means that the the fire will never be stopped. As we already saw it is referring to the destruction of the physical body and that this destruction will not be stopped. It didn't mean that it would continue being destroyed forever.
Now there is also a reference to the worm that doesn't die, which again is taken to mean that the unsaved will be “alive” for their worm will not die. I've even heard it argued that the unsaved will be turned into a worm to face eternal punishment.
The actuality is the worm that doesn't die represents and is symbology of the finality of the death.
This language is actually taken directly from a passage in Isaiah talking about the fate of the wicked.
Isaiah 66- 24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh
There is no reference to anyone remaining alive. They will look upon the carcases of those that have transgressed against God. The carcases an obvious reference to the fact they are dead. The worm of their carcase will not die. Meaning the state of being dead will not end.
Jesus himself states that God can destroy the soul in hell.
Matthew 10- 26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. 27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. 28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
The Greek word is áπÏλλυμι apollumi and means to destroy, lose or perish
This word is used in both Matthew 2-13 where we are told Herod wanted to KILL the Baby Jesus
Matthew 2- 13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
And also when the Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus
Matthew 12-14 Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.
Both of these verses are very clear. Neither wanted to physically consciously punish Jesus. They wanted to kill him.
The Greek word translated as hell is Gehenna. To be destroyed in the fires of death.
Jesus uses this word to describe the destruction of the soul in hell/ death. The death of the soul is the 2nd death . Whoever is not found in the book of life is cast into the lake of fire.
Revelation 20- 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
The lake of Fire (The twist)
Many people wrongly believe that the lake of fire is simply another reference to the fire in Hell. The lake of fire being the fire that burns in Hell. The unsaved soul will be cast into this fire so they will be in hell.
However the Bible very clearly distinguishes between Hell and the lake of fire. Hell/the state of being dead is itself cast into the lake of fire, as is death.
Revelation 20- 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
They are not the same entity. They are 2 different and distinct things.
Hell being the Greek word Hades in this verse. It is death and the state of being dead that are cast into the lake of fire.
Notice that in the previous verse Hell had given up the DEAD that was in it
Revelation 20-13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works
Hell being the Greek word Hades again in this verse
The lake of fire far from being the fire IN Hell is actually the fire that Hell is cast into and is destroyed in.
The fiery furnace where all things that offend and do iniquity are thrown into that Jesus had mentioned in Matthew 13-42 is the lake of fire.
What most people fail to understand, even those that do not believe in an eternal conscious punishment in hell is that the lake of fire is (and here is the twist)........ the very PRESENCE OF GOD HIMSELF.
The lake of fire God’s very presence will destroy the unrighteous
2 Thessalonians 1-9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
This verse is often used to prove that the unsaved will “exist” as they will be away from the presence of God. We again have the word destruction. It will be an everlasting destruction. It also does not say away from his presence but rather they are destroyed from his presence it his presence that will cause the destruction.
As depicted in a verse in 2 thessalonians
2 Thessalonians 2-8 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
In revelation we are told that is the righteous that will dwell with God on the new earth.
Revelation 21-3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
Revelation 22-5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
In the book of Isaiah the question is asked regarding who will dwell with the devouring fire?
Isaiah 33-14 14The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?
Most people who believe in the eternal conscious punishment of Hell believe that it is the unsaved that will spend eternity in the fire, in punishment, in Hell.
However the Bible answers the question and says that it is the RIGHTEOUS who are the ones who can dwell with the devouring fire and everlasting burnings NOT the wicked.
Isaiah 33- 15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;
16He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.
It is the righteous that will dwell with God and it is the righteous that are the ones that can dwell with the devouring fire and everlasting burnings. It will not be the wicked that spend eternity in the fire.
God is depicted as being like a refiner’s fire
Malachi 3- 2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: 3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
We are told in both the OT and the NT that God is a consuming fire.
Deuteronomy 4-24 For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.
Hebrews 12-29 For our God is a consuming fire.
God descended on mount Sinai in fire
Exodus 19-18 And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.
The sight of God's glory on mount Sinai was like a devouring fire
Exodus 24-17 And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
We are told in Jude that the Sodom and Gomorrah was set as an example to those that would live ungodly.
Jude 1- 7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire.
Peter states that they were brought to ashes as an example.
2 Peter 2-6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;
An example of the wicked being permanently destroyed by fire. They were not tortured but destroyed.
What is more important to notice is that the fire that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah was stated as fire that the Lord rained down from the Lord.
Genesis 19-24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;
The Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire from himself.
Just as Nadab and Abihu were devoured by the fire that went out from the Lord.
Leviticus 10- 1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. 2 And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.
They were still in their clothes
Leviticus 10-4 And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said unto them, Come near, carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp. 5So they went near, and carried them in their coats out of the camp; as Moses had said. 6 And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the LORD hath kindled.
The fire consumes sinners and burns them up,
The fire of the Lord consumed the burnt offerings
Leviticus 9-24 And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.
1 Kings 18- 38 Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.
1 chronicles 1-26 And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the LORD; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering.
Revelation 20- 9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
When Daniel was shown the vision of the ancient of days he saw a fiery flame
Daniel 7- 9I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
10A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.
A flame casts no shadow. There is no darkness in fire.
1 John 1-5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
God will destroy the devil in the same way, with the fire of himself.
Matthew 25-41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
This interpreted as being Hell that was prepared for the devil and his angels. Hell was not the intended place for the human soul but as the unsaved soul cannot be with God the default place is Hell.
However this does not state that Hell was created for the devil and his angels after the devil rebelled against God. The everlasting fire is not some place that God created intended for the devil. The everlasting fire here is God himself, and he is prepared for the devil and his angels.
The devil used to reside with the fire ..with God
Ezekiel 28- 14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
UNTIL iniquity was found in him.
Ezekiel 28- 15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
The devil will be cast into the lake of fire.
Revelation 20-10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
If we simply take this one verse on its own it can be interpreted to support the view of eternal conscious punishment BUT ...and this is an important BUT, we don't just have this verse. To interpret this verse as meaning Eternal conscious punishment goes against what the rest of the Bible so blatantly teaches as we have already seen.
It also goes against what the Bible asserts will happen to the devil.
The Bible states that God will bring fire from within the devil and it will devour him. It will be God that does this.
Ezekiel 28-18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.
And the devil SHALL BE NO MORE.
Ezekiel 28- 19 All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shaltthou be any more.
The Greek translated as for ever and ever in the terms of the torment is
αááνας τáν αáÏνων aiÅnas tÅn aiÅnÅn the age of the ages
It means a cycle of time, an undefined period of time. It does not mean for eternity.
The english translation forever does not mean Eternity
Jonah stated that he was in the belly of the fish forever
Jonah 2- 6I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.
We know that Jonah was in the belly of the fish for 3 days and 3 nights and not forever , not for eternity.
LÉ-‘Å-w-lÄm; ×Ö××Ö×ÖÖ'× and means a long duration or a full duration of a time not eternity.
Jonah 1- 17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Tormented in this verse is the Greek word basanisthÄ"sontai βασανισθÎσονται it means to be examined via torture, torment
There actually is no reason to presume that this means physical torture or a physical examination rather seeing this is a spiritual being, it could imply a spiritual examination and torture where the devil is faced to deal with what he has done just as the human unrighteous who will grieve their denial of God.
We are also told that those that worship the beast or take his mark will be tormented and the smoke from the torment will ascend up for ever and ever. They will receive no rest day or night.
Revelation 14- 9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
Again the Greek is αááνας αáÏνων aiÅnas aiÅnÅn ages of ages. An undefined period of time but not eternity.
The rest that is referred to is not a lack of rest from an endless torment but they will not enter into God's rest. They receive no rest as those that believe do.
Hebrews 4-10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
The symbolic language if the smoke used in the passage is taken from Isaiah
Isaiah 34-9 And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch.
10 It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever.
It is the SMOKE of their torment not the torment that rises for ever and ever. This is symbolic of the destruction that has taken place.
The Hebrew translated as for ever in relation to the smoke is lÉ-‘Å-w-lÄm ×Ö××Ö×ÖÖ× just as in the forever of Jonah and the 3 days and nights in the belly of the fish.
BUT the Hebrew word translated for ever and ever when referring to the length of time that none shall pass through it is a different word LÉ-nê-áaá ×Ö×ÖÖ×Ö× which does mean forever everlastingness, perpetuity.
The smoke goes up for the full duration of a time. While none shall pass through for eternity.
A verse that is used to demonstrate that the wicked are still alive after the Judgement is
Revelation 22-14 where it is said that they will be outside of the new Jerusalem while the saved will be inside.
Revelation 22-15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
But the verse does not say that they are alive. It simply says that they are outside and not inside. Simply highlighting the fact that inside there will be no one who is wicked. Wickedness will have passed away. Just as the wicked were dead on the outside of Jerusalem in the fire having been burned up. It didn't mean that they were still alive outside Jerusalem.
The wicked will wake from sleep to shame and the everlasting contempt of God, NOT that they will wake to have everlasting contempt for God as some do state.
Daniel 12- 2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
This “outside” is described as being darkness or outer darkness NEVER of fire. The darkness is the state of being no more.
Matthew 22-13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 25-30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Luke 13-28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
Jude 1-13 13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
Matthew 8-12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The verse that explains this the simplest is from the psalms.
Psalm 112- 10 The wicked shall see it, and be grieved; he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away: the desire of the wicked shall perish.
The wicked will see the place of eternity that they have rejected. They will grieve for it, they will be angry and then they shall perish into nothingness, into blackness for eternity.
One last verse that has not been explained is 2 Peter 2-4
2 Peter 2-4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
This use of the word Hell is simply not referring to a place of eternal conscious punishment for humans and the human soul.
This is the one occurrence of the Greek word tartarÅsas ταρταρÏσας
Tartarus was a place fit ONLY for the punishment of Demons. This was not the place for the human soul. It CANNOT be confused with Hades or Gehenna. This was not the place of the dead and it was not the place for the unrighteous dead. Peter was not using this to refer to a place of eternal punishment in any way shape of form. Peter used this to specifically refer to the place where the Angels that sinned were chained UNTIL the Judgement. This is NOT even the place the Angels that sinned will spend their own eternity. Rather they are kept their until the day of Judgement. It is used to reference a “prison” for the Angels. There is no reference to a place the unrighteous humans will spend their eternity in fire.
But didn’t Jesus spend 3 days and 3 nights in Hell….YES...Jesus spent 3 days and nights DEAD in the tomb. For a full explanation on what this means please read my writing Did Jesus really go to Hell.
As for the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich man this does not support eternal conscious punishment.
Hell is not the final place of the wicked. Hell is not a place of eternal conscious punishment. Hell is the state of being dead. The wicked will receive this fate after the judgement when God’s very presence destroys them.
The righteous will dwell with the fires of God for eternity.
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